Encourage One Another | Chapel Hill Church Sermon | Gig Harbor, WA
Our granddaughter, Cici is becoming increasingly conversant, using both words and the sign language she’s learning like “more” and “all done.” The other night, she used both very clearly! Cici was staying overnight when she spiked a temp. So, we got a rectal thermometer to get a good reading and I distracted her while Cyndi did the deed. We weren’t confident about the first reading. So…Cyndi went in for seconds…and then thirds. And at that point, Cici looked up at me as I held her there and said, as clearly as she has ever spoken, “All done…all done” (Hand motions).
It was pathetic…and funny… at the same time. Later, when Cooper was strapping her into the car, I leaned over, peeked in at my sick little girl and went, (hand motions). She looked back and replied wearily, (hand motions.) What she meant was, “That was awful, Papa; protect me next time!” And what I meant was, “You were so brave. Way to hang in there. I’m proud of you! All done!”
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an “all done” word in the New Testament: a word that meant comfort and empathy and endurance all at once? Well, by golly, there is! It’s the Greek word “parakaleite.” It’s an all-purpose verb: it means “comfort, exhort, help, defend,” But here’s my favorite definition: encourage! En-courage. Parkaleite means to come alongside another person to fill them with courage.
We’re in a sermon series called “One Anothers.” In 59 different ways…the New Testament tells us…the church… how we ought to treat one another. We’ve collated those into 10 categories. Last week we started with “Forgive one another.” This week we come to my favorite “Encourage one another.” It is mentioned several times but here’s how Paul says it to the Thessalonians.
Therefore encourage (parakaleite) one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11
Decades ago, I took a spiritual gifts inventory and discovered that my number one gift was “exhortation.” That’s a weird word. It can mean to “give warnings or urgent advice”…like when you are preaching. That makes sense. But “exhortation” has an underlying meaning: to encourage. To THOROUGHLY encourage. To FILL UP with encouragement. And when I heard that definition, I knew the test had gotten it right. Because I love to encourage.
Perhaps it’s my experience as a child. My home was filled with encouragement. Mom was an encourager, which is common. I think most moms have encouragement built into their genetic code. But my DAD, too, encouraged me. Out loud. Unfortunately, this is less common. Men can be uncomfortable offering words of encouragement, often because they’ve never received them. But mom AND dad were both great encouragers to Dana and me. They told me, “You can do it”… whatever “it” was. They told me they believed in me. They told me they were proud of me. Dad still calls Sunday afternoons to tell me I preached a great sermon. Sometimes he says, “That was the best sermon you’ve ever preached; you’re getting better and better…” ….which is a ton of pressure!
So…I was raised in a home where I was showered with words of encouragement. In fact, when Cyndi and I first married, this became an issue. SHE was raised in a family where they would say, “Good job”…and that was it. And they meant it…but they didn’t REPEAT it over and over again. So, in those first Sundays after we were married, I’d come home from church and Cyndi would say, “That was a good sermon.” For her, that WAS encouragement. For ME, that was an hors d’oeurves. I was waiting for the main course. Did you REALLY like the sermon? WHY did you like the sermon? What did you think was the best part of the sermon? It was pathetic; I was so needy. Over the years, Cyndi figured out I needed more words….and I came to need fewer words…
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